How to Make a Better To-Do List

Getting your priorities in order is essential.

Whether you’re investing in real estate, opening a small business, or moving up the career ladder you need to have a clear and precise view of what to do every day. If you don’t, this means a lot of wasted time that could’ve been used for more important and essential tasks and missed opportunities that could’ve given you more money in your pocket.

The problem with most task lists

Most people have a to-do list that looks like this:

  • Call Steve about the investment
  • Get business related book on realty
  • Organize bookshelf

Can you see what’s wrong with that?

The problem is by the time you actually have to get to these items on your list, you’ve forgotten most of the important details to these tasks! What you have to realize when you’re writing a to-do list is that you’re not really writing it to your present self. You’re writing it to your future self. For all intents and purposes, this future self is a different person that you are now. What I mean by this is that you may not remember the fine details to these lists that you so easily associate to these lists now.

For example, you might read, “Get business book on realty”. Later on, you’re gonna have to take time out of your busy day to think to yourself, “Hmm.. exactly what kind of business book do I need?”

For example, do you want one focused more on business or on starting and managing a realty practice? Do you want one on how to start a realty or how to improve one or how to manage on? Do you want to buy a book or borrow a book from the library or from a friend?

The problem is that the task on your list is way too general! So when you get around to reading this task you’re starting off with confusion as to what to do! This is not a good thing.

How to improve your to-do list

The way to write better tasks for your to-do list is to write it for someone that doesn’t know all the details. Add in the details so you won’t have to think so much later. Your new task list might look something like this:

  • Call Steve around 2pm and make sure he is going to contribute his share towards our real estate investment partnership
  • Purchase a book on Amazon that deals with the legal issues on how to start a realty business
  • Organize bookshelf by placing business books on left side and realty books on right side and computer books in the middle

Can you see how that might be better for you than the previous list? When you read this list, boom, you’re on it and you’re started working on your list without wasting time thinking about the details. You’re more confident that you’re working on the right task at the right moment. You’re making decisions with conviction and this can translate to better decisions in business and beyond.

To-do list tips, tricks, and software

A great piece of free software I use for my to-do list is ToDo List by AbstractSpoon. Yes, it’s completely free and I’d highly recommend using it. It gives you a great list you can use, you just right click, choose New Task and just write in the text book what you want to do for that day. I like to set up “Daily Tasks”, “Weekly Tasks”, “Monthly Tasks”, and “Get to Later” as main tasks and then choose New Subtask from the right-click context menu to write in the actual task. You can drag and drop tasks around which is great when you realize that a task you thought had to be done monthly, actually has to be done weekly, or vice-versa.

For timing tasks, I’ve found a great free countdown timer called Take a Break. You can set up minutes and hours, choose .wav files as an alarm, and it pops up to tell you when your time is up. It also prompts you to take a customizable break – to get up from your computer, stretch, take a walk, etc. You can also hover over the tray icon and a pop-up comes up that tells you how much time is left. You can also keep the window “Always on Top”. An essential program for me personally that I use daily.

Time management is essential to any business and investment. There’s absolutely no way to have a successful real estate investment business without keeping track of the finite time we have each day. All of us have the same 24 hours a day.

Are you making the most of your time?

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